State of the Nation

It would seem that the world is going through some disruption lately. Both the microscopic world that is my creative life and the world-at-large.

The novel is coming along, but I found I’d written as much as I could. It couldn’t get any further in its current draft without a “state of the nation” – the necessary point at which the writer must ask tough questions before proceeding. So, I decided to distill each chapter into cue card format, with the thought of posting them on a corkboard – the main idea was to be able to glaze over the thing and look at it objectively; this is something that’s impossible to do when you’re building the thing chapter by chapter. After completing the summary of the last-written chapter of the current draft, I realised that the draft was anaemic.

This was no surprise – or rather , it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The whole purpose of summarizing the novel into cue card form was for the fact I couldn’t see the forest for the trees anymore (pardon the clich√©). You find yourself telling a story filled with characters and ideas, yet at times it ends up being a bunch of ideas posing as a story – at worst, neither…just a bunch of semi-articulated characters talking in order to necessarily further the plot so that the fucking thing can keep moving forward the way you thought it would.

In any case, justified or not, I was disappointed.

The next day, I took a long walk – the saving grace for the creative mind. I rolled the book’s problems and inefficiencies around my head like rocks in a laundry dryer. I then found myself sitting in a familiar coffee shop and proceeded to spend a couple of hours writing down the resulting thoughts from my medicative stroll. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. While not every individual issue got solved, I found myself with a solution or two which addressed my doubts. However, the long road seems longer – there’s still a lot of work to be done before I can consider the current draft complete.

And the rest of the world, you ask? What of that macroverse you’ve avoided telling us about? Well, one bastard got kicked out of office. Another promises to step down. One did everything possible to halt any significant movement on climate change. Another continued to arrest anyone who questioned his hand-picked successor’s path to election.

The moral of the story lies in the immortal words of Charles Bukowski: perseverance is greater than strength.


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